Our Perfect RV Solar System For Boondocking * Full Time RV Living Off Grid *

In today's video we're talking about RV
solar, RV off-grid systems, RV solar systems whatever you want to call it. We're talking about RV solar today and specifically we're actually going to be talking about our actual RV solar system that i installed on our new to us 2005 Lazy Daze Class C motor-home while we were doing our RV renovation but before I jump
into all the cool components that we used and all the neat little things I
did with those components I do want to go ahead and talk about Continuous
Resources. So who is Continuous Resources and why am I talking about
them well, Continuous Resources is a small mom-and-pop company that I reached
out to and asked to be a part of their affiliate program so we are Continuous
Resource affiliates. Absolutely love the customer service that they offer I love
that they're a U.S. based solar company they're right in Price Utah which is
kind of near Moab and they're that local mom-and-pop vibe that you get that
really pushes customer service sure you might be able to get a couple of
components here there you know may be a little bit cheaper than they offered
them but you're not going to get the customer service that you get like you
do from Continuous Resources they are just awesome now let me kind tell you
about my experience this is what I did I did an energy audit because I wanted to
know what type of system size we needed for the RV behind us that we don't plan
to ever change from ever again and after I did that energy audit hold on if you
don't know how to do an energy audit I'll throw a link in the description
below to a video on how I do an energy audit yourself I highly recommend that
you do one before you contact any solar company because then you can kind of get
a feel for what size system you might need but if you can't figure out how to
do an energy audit actually continuous resources will help you plan your system
as well even you know ask you some questions about your usage and stuff but
it'll definitely get a more accurate system if you do an energy audit so you
can actually call continuous resources or email them contact them write them on
their website they have a little chat feature and say hey this is what I'm
thinking about doing what I did was as I said I want 800 watts of solar I want
400 amp hours of lithium and I want a 3000 watt inverter, you know.

What are you
thinking? And they planned our entire system for us from our wires down to the
fuses, the junction box, they literally planned everything it was so
simple even the mounting hardware on the roof for the solar panels they have
those as well when I say we got all of our components there I mean literally
all of our components for our solar system came from one location one
mom-and-pop, one stop shop: Continuous Resources and they are awesome. So if
you're going to be buying your solar components I recommend that you use
continuous resources we obviously love them and you can actually use a discount
code that we have it is lost five that is L O S T then number 5 so, lost
five I'll throw it over here for you and they will give you a discount so if you
call them make sure you give them that code so you can get a discount and they
can let you or you can let them know that we actually referred them yeah so
enough about all that cool stuff and continuous resources being so awesome
and that one-stop shop let's jump up on the roof of the RV and check out what
solar panels we went with up on the roof we have 800 watts of
solar panels that's correct 800 watts which is plenty of power for
us so what do we go with well we went with for 200 watt panels all the panels
are monocrystalline panels they're all high-tech solar panels and they're all
200 watt solar panels we went with 200 watts because well it's easier to mount
four 200 watt panels on the roof and they fit really well in the dimensions that
we had available then it is to mount eight 100 watt panels.
I kind of talked about that on our solar panel video during my Solar series so
check that out if you want more information about that and actually if
you want more information about like what's an inverter how does it work
charge controllers wiring thing and series in parallel
any other questions that might come up from this video I have probably already
covered it in my RV Solar Series so make sure you check out the links in the
description below because I'll put all the videos down there for you I'll even
pin them in the comment for you but enough about that let's get into these
panels again these are 200 watt high tech solar panels they're
monocrystalline they're made right in the USA that's correct
high tech is manufactured right in the USA they're backed by 25 year warranty
and I have them set up in series and parallel so what that means is I have
two of my panels wired together in series the other two panels wired in
series the reason I did that is to increase the voltage reduce the amps
that just makes it easier to send this power first thing in the morning when
the Sun is coming up and later into the evening I get the higher voltage which
is pushing the power into my batteries basically in my opinion I can collect
power earlier then they're also wired in parallel so the two panels in series and
the other two in series are wired together in parallel in a junction box
which is located just inside of our roof vent now again all of these components
came directly from continuous resources from the wiring to the mc4 connectors
the fuses even these sweet tilting mounts these things are epic continuous
resources has these as well they come white like they come with VHB tape and
they come with the screws to screw in as well I mean they literally come with
everything so it was super easy to get these solar panels up here once I got
them up here yes I did actually use the VHB tape and screwed them into our
aluminum roof then I used some 3m 5200 marine grade
sealant to seal them up so I never have to worry about them ever again so that's
pretty much it for the roof let's go ahead and see where these cables go down
into the refrigerator and on the backside of the refrigerator
so all those solar panels up on the roof have wires that go to a junction box now
that junction box is sealed and it is located just inside our refrigerator
roof top vent so I know you can't see it here in the shot and like I said it's
all sealed up so I didn't want to unseal it just to show you all a closed box
anyways but basically the solar panel wires go to that then after that
junction box they come down the left side of the refrigerator access because
this is our RV refrigerator this is the outside back of it so if I flip this up
you can see it's the access panel for our RV refrigerator this is a great
place to run your solar wires down into your RV because you don't have to drill
an extra hole in the roof of your RV because you can just use the fridge
event that's already up there it's pretty easy right now I ran all my wires
on the left side the reason I did that is because on our RV refrigerator it can
run off a propane or electricity and it uses heat because that's the type of
system that it is and all the hot items are over here in this right-hand side of
the actual refrigerator so if you are going to run yours make sure that you're
not running it down the hot side and then end up melting some wires or
anything it's pretty simple in this case they already had wires rained down for
the refrigerator anyways on the inside this chase way so
it's pretty simple to follow that same path to run my wires down from the solar
panels they come down here on the left and go right into a hole that was
already here again I had to unseal it put my wires through it and then reseal
it because this is where the refrigerator itself gets it's 12 volt
power supply so that was pretty simple because directly underneath this access
panel is where the original house batteries lived now I have closed this
off and sealed it up put some foam in here because I didn't want water getting
into our components that are on the inside of this inside the RV which I'll
show you in just a minute that's where our inverter our charge controller all
the cool stuff lives on the other side of this is actually mounted to the wall
that I the board put along this wall here before I put
this film in so this is now just basically useless store that will always
keep shut but directly underneath that is a bay that we decide to put our RV
house batteries in so instead of having them here we just signed up for our
solar components in that area which they're located inside the RV and
directly underneath this we decided to put our house batteries down here let me
go ahead and show you this neat little item that I did here on the outside of
the RV alright so for those of you that are
familiar with the backside of an RV refrigerator access panel you'll
probably go ahead and realize that this is not normal and you are correct this
is what I've added and this is what I want to talk about inside of this gray
box I put a relay this relay is essentially a switch that can control
with my inverter so what I did was I spliced into this 120 volt wire you
could see it plugs directly into this plug here I spliced into that wire which
is inside this box and that relay ties into this wire and also ties into this
thermostat wire that comes out of the box as well this thermostat wire goes to
a relay switch on my inverter which I can make settings to turn the switch on
and off now you might be thinking to yourself why would you want to turn off
your hundred twenty volt power to your refrigerator well the reason I want to
do that is because if I don't have a 120 volt power the refrigerator well I could
go to gas right if I have it set to auto and it doesn't detect 120 volt power it
will automatically go to gas where if it does detect a hundred 20 volt power it
on map it goes to 120 volt power because it prefers 120 volt power right so what
I've done was I set some settings on my inverter and the inverter will turn this
switch on and off which will in turn turn off 120 volt power to my
refrigerator the way I have it set up currently is if we have shore power
coming in for longer than five minutes it will turn on the relay so that way I
can use my short power to power my refrigerator because hey I'm on shore
power I don't have to worry about changing it from auto to gas I can just
leave it on auto all the time and don't have to worry about forgetting it there
and during my batteries down because they have an inverter
which is the other settings that have set if our battery bank is below 95% the
inverter will turn this relay off and the refrigerator will just automatically
go to gas it's happy to work on gas it has no problem with that but if our
battery bank is above 98% it will turn it back on so that allows me to
basically when we're using our battery bank throughout the day the battery gets
low it goes head and turns this off which helps us conserve energy this
automatically goes to propane but if we're you know full on solar we have
plenty of solar power it allows me to use the extra solar power that we have
to run the refrigerator because hey why not run the refrigerator for a little
bit on solar while we camp now I learned to do this from another RV channel
they're called opting out of normal I will put the video that talks about this
relay it has the box and all the components that I got I used their links
to get them again that's often out of normal I'll put that video in the
description below if you want to do this to your RV refrigerator
it is super awesome and I love this little hack that they came up with
enough about this let's talk about the batteries directly underneath it in my
opinion the battery bank is the heart of the solar system and you should upgrade
your battery bank first if you enjoy boondocking
you just get the most bang for your buck this way you can stay out camping longer
that's just my opinion now what batteries did we go with we
have 4 100 amp our 12-volt battleborn batteries they are wired in series
parallel which means that we have 24 volt system and 200 amp hours at 24
volts or if you have a 12-volt system this is basically 400 amp hours at 12
volt it's the same watt hours no matter how you look at the same amount of power
we just have a setup in a 24 volt system now some of you might be thinking well
why did you not go with a 24 volt battery because battleborn makes those
well I like the versatility of a 12 volt battery I can easily add one wire to
turn these to twelve volts into one 24 volt battery but I can't make a 24 volt
battery a 12 volt battery right can't turn to 24 into 12 but it's easy to turn
a 12 into 24 so I can take these out use these in a boat or some other
application they're just more versatile in my opinion and why not just use one
wire to make them 24 volt that's just my personal opinion of why I went this
route the way both of these downs I just used
some angle iron that picked up locally at Lowe's here on the sides and the
front in the back because I had to read basically built this whole battery bank
and then on the top there is a nice strap that goes to set bolts to help
hold them down as well and they all sit on this Harbor Freight
fatigue mat this is for like your shop and this stuff is water you know proof
and basically it's going to act as an anti vibration mat so the batteries
don't get shaken as much while they're living in here now I do want to go ahead
and mention that continuous resources has lots of battery options you don't
have to go with battleborn they actually are rely on dealers Ames
lion Energy which is a lithium company that's based out of Utah and they have
other battery options as well so you don't necessarily have to go with
battleborn we're not battleborn affiliates of reps or anything like that
we bought these directly from continuous resources and we battleborn because we
liked a 10 year warranty and liked the fact that we had these in our last coach
and they were just excellent to us so we've stuck with the brand that we
already knew so directly underneath our RV refrigerator we had these two little
cabinets now this was a drawer which I turned into like a vent itself and then
underneath this was a little cabinet but it was pretty shallow because the
batteries did live in here originally so I pulled those out you can kind of see
the board back there which I showed you earlier has foam on the other side
because that's why I mounted my hardware tube and to block off that door from the
outside so what we'll do is we'll start with the batteries if we look here in
the middle directly underneath that hole is the battery bay that I just showed
you on the outside so the negative comes up goes to the shunt and then goes over
to the distribution system the positive comes up goes to an on and off switch so
I can turn off the power for you work on something and that goes to the
distribution system as well so this is basically some giant bus bars and we
move this out of the way normally this bolts down does have it
off of there so I can show it to you so it's basically two giant bus bars a
positive 1 and a negative one that goes underneath so that allows it to hold the
fuses and everything which is pretty awesome
you can see I have my inverter on this one my charge controller on this one
this is my step down converter and that's what we have used so far so I
actually have an extra few so I can use over here
if I need to so enough about this let me put this distribution box back on now
again this is a big trunk opponent love this thing super cool and it holds
everything it looks nice and clean too alright so we got that back on there
basically what this does is distributes all the power to all the components so
what I want to do is go ahead and start with our inverter this is the inverter
we decided to go with this is a victor on multi plus 3000 watt inverter and is
a 24 volt inverter this thing is super awesome it's a hybrid inverter which
means it has this thing called power assist which I'll talk about more in a
minute but this thing is just awesome this is
what we really really wanted and I'm super excited to have four inverter you
all know that we had aims inverters in our last two RVs which were excellent
but they just don't offer the power assist like the multi plus does so
that's why I went with the victor on actually all of our components are
victor arm which is nice because they all network and talk to each other so if
it work our way to the right and back here along that same wall you'll see our
MPPT charge controller this is a 100 volt / 30 amp charge controller because
we have a 24 volt battery bank we only need a 30 amp charge controller directly
underneath that is our breakers those are our solar breakers so the you know
solar wire comes in it actually comes in from right up here it goes over goes
into the breaker then feeds the charge controller at the charge controller and
goes to another breaker which in turn goes over to the battery via the
distribution system so that thing is super nice what that means is I can flip
these breakers on and off if I need to like work on solar panels or anything
like that so I don't have the live power coming in from there either this blue
box right here is our step-down converter is a 24 volt to 12 volt
converter so basically that means it takes in the 24 volts from the battery
bank and then steps it down to 12 volt which then in turn feeds over to our
fuses and stuff which go out to the RV itself so that's just just the normal
stuff that goes to the RV so our lights and everything that works off 12 volt is
powered basically from that which is a step down from the battery box itself so
this is our little solar cabinet this thing just stays in here all the time I
put a little light in here so I could easily work on things
while I'm in here and enough about all the components now let's actually show
you the sweet little system that I use to control this thing our color GX
before I talk about this awesome component behind me the color control by
Victor on or the batter monitor that we have I want to go ahead and touch on our
inverter real quickly again we have the Victor on multi + 3000 and is a hybrid
inverter and it is just a beast I highly recommend that you watch the video below
if you have no idea about inverters I talked about that in an earlier solar
video so go check that out it will educate you I also have videos about 30
amp vs.

50 amp all kinds of stuff like that if you're confused about those
things I've already done videos on them so please check those out I love
answering questions from y'all but I probably have made a video on a lot of
questions that you may already have so back to the inverter the hybrid inverter
with power assist which is the big draw offers basically means that I can limit
our incoming Shore power and the inverter will make up the difference for
example let's say we're driveway surfing you know at Stacy's mom's house and
we're plugged into a 15 amp regular outlet like you see on the wall well if
we pull more than 15 amps then we might damage our dog bone
we might flip a breaker on inside who knows what might happen because you
don't want to pull more than that 15 amps and let's say that it's hot outside
and we're running the air conditioner more air conditioners tend to pull about
13 to 14 amps so that's the majority of the power that we can use is just on the
air conditioner and since we have a 30 amp coach that means that we can't use
the microwave coffee pot plugged in a hair dryer pretty much nothing else
other than that one large draw because we're plugged into 15 amps well not if
you have a hybrid inverter especially like the multi plus that we have with a
power assist I can limit the current coming in I can do so right here on the
color control it's super easy I'll show you in just a minute and that will limit
us on how much power will point in so the inverter won't let us pull in more
than whatever I have it set to so I can set to 15 amps we won't pop any breakers
or burn up any dog bones or anything like that but the inverter will make up
the difference so say we're running the air conditioner again using almost all
of our power but I want to make a cup and a cup of coffee or microwave
something for a few minutes the inverter will power the microwave or
the coffeepot right it will make up the difference in power of course you need
your battery bank to be able to power those things but it's just really nice
feature because that means that we don't have to constantly turn off the air
conditioner to make coffee or only make coffee or microwave something we can do
just about all of it now and the power assist makes up the difference it is so
awesome so enough about that let me show you kind of this component up here and
why we love it so much let's start up top with our battery monitor now we
decided to go with a victor on BMV 712 this thing is bluetooth and it is so
handy I can use it from my phone it is just so nice so basically this gives us
a real readout right our batteries are at 100% just like you get a readout on
your phone you get a real percentage readout you can also look through and
see you like our voltage you know how many amps we're bringing in or out watts
in or out there's lots of other things that you can do as well with this thing
it is so nice and you can see it from your phone so you don't have to even get
up and look at your battery percentage you can just pull up the app on your
phone which is free and check your battery percentage this way this is a
way more accurate way to check your voltage or to check your battery levels
I should say especially with lithium compared to like the old press you know
your readout button that is going to give you something based off of voltage
these are just not very accurate at all and so I highly recommend that you get a
battery monitor that's why we've always put one in our RVs it lets you know how
much you know power you have so you can continue boondocking or not so directly
underneath this as our color control by Vic Tron this thing is awesome now it
does connect to Wi-Fi it's got all kinds of cool features on it it's got GPS on
it if you want to add that into it and it has just all kinds of neat stuff so
right here on this page that we have pull up to this page is called overview
you can see that we're bringing in 108 watts from the shore power it's going to
our inverter or inverters in float mode which means we're pretty much topped off
and so that's sending power down into our batteries which are 100% and then
the batteries are sending out power to our DC power this is like our lights and
stuff like that right and if you go up here you can see it's also sending out
30 watts to our AC loads so we have some stuff plugged into our 120 volt side it
also shows me what's going on with my PV or my solar panels on the
Rufe so this right now we're bringing in three watts again since we're in float
mode and the batteries 100% we're not bringing in any watts because the
batteries are already full so this is a really cool little system that I can
just see really easily it's a nice overview or what not typical to keep it
on is this mobile panel now what this allows me to do is make some you know
changes now if I do put in the tank sensors that will show my mic tanks here
will also show my pump I could turn my water pump on and off but I'd have to
buy these components to control them so I'm okay with the just checking my tank
levels there for right now but I could do it here which is pretty cool because
you can do everything through the system again this tells me that AC loads is
here solar is this what's going on my battery
what's my battery condition what time it is if I'm alarms that kind of stuff and
then right here you can see AC limit and AC mode so if I move this around you can
see my little marker here museum unless you kind of see it there you go you can
see my little marker moves around looks like a little pencil so if I want to
turn my inverter off I just simply go over to this click the button to off and
it will turn my inverter off see so now my inverter is off the microwave is no
longer on because the embraer is off to turn it back on I can just easily press
it on or I can put it in a charger mode I can do whichever so I'm gonna play our
on C it's gonna tell the inverter on then we can watch the microwave turn
back on because the inverter turn itself back on which is super handy super easy
to turn my inverter on and off throughout the day so I'm not losing a
bunch of extra power and then over here is that AC current limit that I was
talking about so we're currently plugged into a 30 amp outlet but let's say that
we wanted to you know change this so that we wanted to change it down to less
amps we can change our current down to like 12 amps so that way we're not
pulling in too much power I can simply just change it right there it makes all
the changes BAM does the inverter and I don't have
to worry about popping somebody's breaker while we're driveway surfing
this thing is so handy that I can do that let me get back real quick before I
go onto our next thing so you'll be easy to do pal and it is that simple now it takes a
couple seconds for it it's a load it to think and then to send the information
over to our inverter that lives down here and that so other pages that we
have we also have this page here that's called tiles now I really don't use them
too much but basically it is the same as the other ones it just kind of tells you
what's going on you can see I named our system Daisy because that's what we call
our lazy days so I typically keep it right here on the mobile screen now on
top of that we also have our menu so inside of here I can you know look at my
battery monitor and see what's going on my charge controller and my you know
inverter and then inside of here I can change settings and do other kinds of
things inside of this as well so it's really nice that I can do a ton of stuff
in here I also set notifications again more settings all kinds of cool stuff
that you can do and yes you did see that VR in Portal online because this
actually has you know a Wi-Fi capability now it was a little plug after plug in
to the back of it but that allows me to actually monitor the system as long as
this has Wi-Fi connection I can monitor our system and our RV remotely and all I
need to do is log in over the internet which is so awesome
now don't forget about that discount code lost five with continuous resources
so you can save some cash when you go to purchase your RV solar system and let
continuous resources help you they are awesome they specialize in customer
service that's what they're all about that's what their main goal is and they
only sell quality products that stand behind their warranty they don't offer
anything else that's like a big thing about them and I love that about that
you know mom-and-pop shop that you get you get that customer service that you
really do want especially when it comes to solar so again shout out to
continuous resources don't forget that discount code lost five now if you are a
solar installer yourself and you're thinking about becoming an affiliate
with continuous resources check out the link below because I do have a little
link that you can get your application if you want to be affiliate as well and
that pretty much wraps up this video we are absolutely loving lazy Daisy we do
not plan to change RVs ever again and we can't wait to take her to Mexico

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